Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tracted All Day, Didn't Find Anyone

Holla Familia!
So this week was an interesting one! We tracted, and tracted a little more, and we didn't find anyone. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!? Well ok, we did find a few potentials. So hopefully they will turn into something awesome.It's just been a really interesting week for me.
But this week wasn't as bad as I made it sound. A few really cool things did happen this week.
We had Zone Conference this week, first one with President Salisbury. He blew it right out of the water! I really enjoyed it. The thing that stuck out most to me in the meeting was His challenge for an Experiment of Faith. It is a new thing we are doing with our members. So I guess you can apply it to you: Watch a Mormon Message, or Read the Scriptures. Think about how This Message applies to you, and how the Gospel has blessed you in your life. Then Experiment of Faith. Ponder about someone you think could benefit from the message you just had or from the message of the Restored Gospel. First few people that come to mind, write them down. Then Ponder about why these people came to mind, and then think of how you could share the Gospel with them.      Now Sending the Missionaries over, is a good idea. But do you know what an even better idea is? Inviting the person you thought of over to your house or going and visiting them yourself. Because which one is more likely to happen - you a friend goes to their house and asks to come in, or missionaries who are complete strangers asking to come in. All signs point to the friend is allowed in the door. Now you are probably wondering what to do next. Well what we learned, and perhaps the easiest and simplest way, is to state the obvious. "Hey Jenny, I was watching this short spiritual clip last night about things that matter most. I was thinking about people who mattered most to me and you came to mind. So I know that sounds really weird and cheesy, but I have just been thinking about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been such a huge blessing in my life. It has brought me a lot of peace, comfort, and guidance. and since you came to mind when I thought of the Gospel, I just wanted to ask you if you would be interested in learning about it."      
Stating the Obvious is the best. It may be awkward, it may be strange... But hey. YOU ASKED! Which moves me onto another train of thought. We had a lesson in Relief Society yesterday it was on the talk of "Are You Sleeping Through the Restoration" By Elder Uchtdorf. The Three things that keep us back from sharing the gospel. selfishness, addictions, and competing priorities. One part of it that really stuck out to me was under addictions:
Addictions often begin subtly. Addictions are thin threads of repeated action that weave themselves into thick bonds of habit. Negative habits have the potential to become consuming addictions.
After that he lists several things that the world is falling trap too. But something that popped into my mind was: Negative Habits, repeated actions. We all have the bad habit of Not Sharing the Gospel. We all have it stuck in our minds that - Oh they are busy, Oh they look like they are set in their Faith or in their ways, Oh they smell funny, Oh they aren't into religious stuff, Oh, Oh, Oh. Oh NO. Justification to the Max! I myself am super guilty of this. I like to Justify my way out of things. Lots of things pop up that we think of: That I am just too busy to do certain things, I'm too tired to talk, I don't know that much about sharing the Gospel, I feel like an awko-taco talking about religion. It just never ends.
We need to pull ourselves together and make the determined effort that we want to and are going to share the Gospel. It's a bit frightening at first, but as soon as you do it. My goodness the joy that comes from doing it.
SO my challenge to you, all y'all, is to do an Experiment of Faith. The People that pop into mind, they can be members or nonmembers. Go and talk to them. Just Do It. Then tell me how it goes. Because
“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.”
Go Fight Win! :D

Sister Karen Call
Hmm...I guess I only told you one really cool thing that happened this week... Oh well :)

"Hold family home evening every week. As parents, we are sometimes too intimidated to teach or testify to our children. I have been guilty of that in my own life. Our children need to have us share spiritual feelings with them and to teach and bear testimony to them."
~Robert D. Hales

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Missionary Work: Yes, It's for You

Hey Family!
This week has been pretty interesting. Lots of cool and interesting things have happened.
On Tuesday we had exchanges with the STL's Sister Curtis went to Fairmont with Sister Whitaker, and I stayed here in Bridgeport with Sister Shumway. I was a little worried, because, well I still don't know where everything is and we have an interesting area that we cover. GPS's don't really work out here... it's fun. So we only got lost... like twice. :)
We spent the day in Grafton. We have really interesting cities that we cover. Grafton, Flemington, Shinnston, Anmore, and Bridgeport. they sound like cusses and diseases.
Anywho, Grafton is the slums of our area, nothing to be too afraid of. Just don't be stupid when approaching people. So Sister Shumway and I spent the afternoon looking for Less Active people. Most of them had moved, But along our way we found this really cool guy. His name is Sam. He was super friendly and super helpful, and Sister Shumway carried on a conversation about 70's bands and stuff while I stood there wondering what the heck they were talking about and just smiling. Then they got into his life and how things were pretty difficult at the time and he was taking care of his parents and they had bad health problems. Then tie into the Plan of Salvation. It was really cool, and I don't really know how it happened but it did.
After talking to Sam we went to Dairy King, to take a little break from our lovely 90 degree + humidity day of walking around. Dairy King is like Dairy Queen. Only they use different flavors and supposedly they make everything from scratch and put it into the 'snowflakes' aka milkshake things. Super good by the way. Highly recommend it... if you are ever in West Virginia... and it is still in business. Anywho, I had a nice chat with Sister Shumway. I asked her about how she came on a mission, and her story is pretty legit. While we were talking, Sam (the guy we had just met) called and asked if we had found the guy we were looking for, and that he was going to call later about where our church was. So that was pretty cool. Then a few minutes later, Donald, our investigator called and said that if we were in the area that we could come and stop by. So that was pretty cool. The Lesson with Donald was still just like the previous lesson we had with him. Still doesn't understand priesthood one bit. A lot of people don't understand what the priesthood is. But it was still cool that he called us and told us that we could come over.
Another thing I don't understand is how people can believe in the Trinity... It's just sooo weird. Of Course people probably think it's weird that we are going around saying that we have a Modern day prophet and the Book of Mormon and more.
That evening Sister Shumway and I went and visited Carolyn. Carolyn is pretty awesome, but she is a less active, and she shouldn't be. She knows she should go to church and do a lot of things, But she has had a really crappy past 10 years since she has joined the church. She got married in the temple to a member, and then found out that he was abusive and crazy, so she got divorced. But she has also had a lot of good experiences as well. But the bad ones over shadow the good ones. She has picked up a lot of bad habits and she says she is shooting for making it into the Terrestrial kingdom now. Which is so sad to hear. Why would you shoot for something less... when you know the greater.
The Exchange was pretty cool and I really enjoyed being with Sister Shumway. She is so energetic and bubbly it's crazy. We will both go home in December as well.
Another Interesting thing this week. So another less active that we went and saw, her name is Holly, She is less active because of all of he health problems that she has. Her husband Ron is not a member, but he has really warmed up to the missionaries. Holly was having a really bad day, because their landlord called and gave them a 30 day notice that they needed to move out. They were super upset because the lady had been there earlier that day and said they didn't need to worry about anything, and then as soon as she got home called them up and told them they needed to leave. So it was an emotional house. So, we got Holly talking and she talked about how when she was growing up she lived next to an Olympic diver, and she was taking a diving class. Well The Olympic divers dad was very abusive to him, and so whenever Holly's mom heard there was trouble she would call them up and ask if the son could come and help Holly practice diving. Holly says having an Olympic diver didn't help her one bit on becoming a better diver, but she had a lot of fun with him. A few years ago, this Olympic diver called Holly up and asked her what she appreciated the most that would help cheer her up, and Holly told him that she really loved 'Law and Order: SVU' because she had been herself a rape victim and they were bringing these kinds of things out of the dark. So a few hours later she gets a call and the lady tells her who she is. And it is the main Lady on the show!! Mariska! So Holly has been good friends with her for the past... I don't know how many years. But she has a hat and pictures of all of them. It's SO COOL, and Mariska gives her a call once in a while. Holly is even mentioned in one of the episodes that they have.
Later in the week I got to go and talk to Jerri. Jerri joined the church about 3 years ago. My goodness she is an awesome lady. Jerri is very good at reading people and identifying what needs to be done. In the ward she has recognized that there really isn't any unity among everyone, because no one knows anything about anyone. They all try and stretch out for a moment and try and make a difference but when nothing happens they all stop and give up. She says it would be really difficult for people to come into the church because everyone is so to themselves, that we need to become more focused on those around us. She also talked about how a few transfers ago, the sisters had a lady that was supposed to get baptized right after church, and during church she called and told them that she was just going to get baptized in Oklahoma. They were both devastated and started crying. Some of the members that Jerri talked to expressed how they didn't get why the missionaries were so upset. Jerri expressed that Members just don't understand how much effort and work we as missionaries put into finding people, and to be that close and then have it all fall apart, is a very emotional time. Not only that, but the members are supposed to have a connection with Investigators as well. It's not just a blah moment of "oh, someone is getting baptized. That's cool'. It's so much more! and the members are supposed to be a part of it! They are the ones who stay and become the friends and teachers of those who join the church. The missionaries leave, they all eventually go home. So Members need to kick it into gear and start focusing on those who are around them. Once we have built a solid foundation we are supposed to help those who are around us. If we don't have that foundation, we need to be seeking after it. To discover the importance the Gospel has in our lives, and how much our Savior Jesus Christ loves us. As soon as we discover this for ourselves, why Wouldn't we want to share it with others. We should be excited about these things, How is the word supposed to spread if we are not willing to spread it? But yeah, as a missionary, I have become very passionate about this subject of member missionary work. It is for Everyone. Ask the Missionaries how to start, and if they don't know... then go to Preach My Gospel. It is these key.
Alright so very last thing. I had a really neat experience yesterday. Sister Curtis and I went to the Saltis' to teach a lesson to Paul about Baptism and the Holy Ghost. We started off watching 'You Know Enough', the mormon message. We talked about how we don't know everything and how we are supposed to walk by faith and move forward. Then Paul talked about how he had been thinking about baptism. I don't really remember how the conversation continued, but I remember talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. This was probably one of the most clear to me experiences of the Spirit working through me to teach Paul and Patty. I taught in a way that I had never really thought about before, I taught it simply, boldly and clearly. I can remember just looking into their eyes and talking. It was such a neat experience to be a part of! We asked Paul to think about being baptized on September 20th. He has a lot to work on, but if he puts his faith and his mind to it he can do it. Because through God all things are possible.
Well I hope you are all having a fantastic week! That you take a moment every day to focus on studying Preach My Gospel and the Book of Mormon and Praying for opportunities to share the Gospel with those around you. If you ever have questions about anything in the Gospel, ask me, ask a missionary, just ask - because if you don't "If you do what you have done, then you will get what you have got"
I love you all!
Sister Karen Call

"Ultimately, all keys of the priesthood are held by the Lord Jesus Christ, whose priesthood it is. He is the one who determines what keys are delegated to mortals and how those keys will be used. We are accustomed to thinking that all keys of the priesthood were conferred on Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple, but the scripture states that all that was conferred there were “the keys of this dispensation” (D&C 110:16). At general conference many years ago, President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us that there are other priesthood keys that have not been given to man on the earth, including the keys of creation and resurrection."   ~Dallin H. Oaks

Monday, August 11, 2014

Live A Little Better Today Than We Did Yesterday

Holla Familia!
This week has been pretty good. To start off, the investigators we have seen this week and how I felt they went down. We went and saw Donald with Sister Poe. It was an alright lesson, we were jumping around a lot, we talked again about Priesthood and how it was important to have that authority to baptize but It just didn't click with him. Sister Poe used to be Catholic so she bore a very powerful testimony on the importance of the Priesthood and how she knew that this was the true church. Two things that bothered me during the lesson was: We asked him if he had any questions in his life that he had never had answered or what he was looking for. He told us that he didn't have any questions and he wasn't really looking for anything. That, to me, showed that he isn't really interested in looking for truth. He doesn't think he is missing anything and he doesn't really want to change because he feels he is fine where he is at. Of course, perhaps he just couldn't think of anything at that moment - it happens to the best of us. But, The other thing that bothered me was that during the lesson his phone rang and he went and answered it. I may be reading it wrong, but to me and to most people, it shows a lack of interest and disrespect for those who are talking to you or sharing something very important; going and answering the phone wasn't all that bad, the bad part was that it was his Preacher from his Methodist church... haha, just our luck. And he told Donald that they were going to come and fix his mothers roof and his pipes, and they couldn't wait to see him at church this Sunday.... Soo Donald didn't come to church because his preacher invited him already. BOO.
We also saw Tony and Christine. We only saw Tony momentarily, He has been super busy working. But we had a good talk with Christine. It was mostly her asking us questions and us answering them. We talked about the importance of Prophets. We definitely will need to address that topic again especially with Tony, because he walked in at that moment as we were talking about why Joseph Smith was important, and He said 'Oh Him.' in a rather interesting and rude tone. So we will have to see.
We finally met with Patty and Paul! They are really sweet people. Paul is not a member and he has some really good potential and is slowly gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon as he reads it. We just need to commit him to the lessons and being serious about following Jesus Christ. Patty just has a hard time being in crowds and such. Patty is sooo sweet. While we were there she pulled out her crocheting stuff. She had a whole bunch of things. Mostly little kid outfits that she had made and little shoes. She also had a lot hats that were pretty cool. Then she pulled out some house slippers that she had crochet. She said that every missionary got a pair!! SWEET! hand crochet house slippers! haha I felt really cool and loved :)
 Another family we met were the Hatches. They moved here a year or so ago from Utah. They are a really cool family, the first time we met them they let us right in and fed us dinner! They say they have been just super busy with work and stuff and that when they do go to church they want to go as a family. It's just really hard to see how the action of not going to church has led them into several bad habits. They have started drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol. All very popular normal things in West Virginia. But they aren't to the church, and it's amazing what happens when we stop doing the things we are supposed to be doing, and our testimony weakens in another spot. The devil sure does know where to hit to make it count.
We had Zone Meeting this week. It was pretty cool, learning once again about the Why, how, and what in a new perspective. It reminded me to refocus and remember why I do certain things and why I don't do other things. It was a pretty good meeting overall.
So a few sweet miracles and tender mercies of this week! We were able to find the house of a Referral that was given to us, and we were able to give him a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet and to come back this week. It was cool because the road he lives on doesn't exist on GPS's and you can't even see it from the main road, and we got really.... interesting... directions on how to get to it. So it was really cool when we were able to find the house. On the same day we tried another street (which we found out no one lived on because it was a nursery/child care place) but there was a lady there who had a member of the church that used to work for her, and she had also gone to the Grafton Branch when it was open out there. It was funny when she brought up the Grafton Branch, because we invited her to come to church and she looked at us and said "so you call it a church? I thought you guys used some different word for it, or something" Sister Curtis and I were a little confused for a moment and then realized that "Ohhh, a Branch? that just means it's smaller than a regular size congregation. We definitely call them churches" It was pretty funny.  So it was pretty cool to meet her! She even said if we needed a job we could come back and work for her! haha.
After that and a few streets down we met another lady named Sarah. Who invited us right in and talked with us. We shared the importance of the Book of Mormon and talked with her for a while. She had talked to missionaries before and had a Book of Mormon downstairs. She said that she had read some of it and that it didn't really go with what she believed or what the Bible said.... But we kept bearing testimony of it and sharing scriptures from the Book of Mormon and the Bible and she said she would give the Book of Mormon another try, and that we could come back in a few weeks and follow up with what she read. So that was really cool.
So something that stuck out to me the most this week. Live a little better today than we did yesterday. With learning about Why we do things in the Gospel during Zone Meeting, and also something that the Hatches said;(I can't remember what they said exactly) "In Utah, we don't really live like Christians." I thought this was an interesting thing to say, but I could see where he was coming from. We don't all vocally thank or praise God for all of the blessings that we have like people out here do. We don't express out loud how we saw the hand of the Lord in our day. We don't talk about Christ and how he affects our every action. Now, I would say that the people in Utah are Christian. They live a Christ like life by being kind and giving service and doing. But sometimes we need to be more Vocal about it. Acknowledging the hand of the Lord in our life. Making it a more common thing to say vocally what blessings the Lord has given us.
Anywho! I love all of you and I hope you are all having a great week! School starts soon! Yay! that means everyone comes home from Summer Vacations finally! haha. More people home. Not so happy for kids and students :) Well! Live, Laugh, Love!
Sister Karen Call

"Giving [others] confidence in your love can help them develop faith in God’s love. Then through your loving, thoughtful communication, their lives will be blessed by your sharing lessons you have learned, experiences you have had, and principles you have followed to find solutions to your own struggles. Show your sincere interest in their well-being; then share your testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
    ~Richard G. Scott

Monday, August 4, 2014

West Virginia Finally!

Holla Familia!
I am here in the wonderful land of West Virginia! I have finally made it! Only here in Bridgeport they say it is much different then the Rest of West Virginia, and I'll just assume they are telling me the truth. West Virginia Mountain Mama! Where the men are manly and so are the women! haha Not really... but sort of.
It has been an interesting and crazy week! Sister Nielsen and I have been separated from each other. two opposite ends of the mission. It was fun and Crazy. We had been working like crazy to get everything in order and to get it ready for the Elders to move in. Elder Guthrie and his new Trainee. They are going to do great!
Well the 7 hour car drive Was AWESOME!!! I got to watch the sunrise and gradually raise into the sky. Transfer Meeting was really great to be at, if I could I would go to all of them, because you learn something at every single one of them. I got to meet my 'Sister' that Sister Richards will be training. Her name is Sister Johnson. She bore her testimony during the Meeting - I have a pretty legit Sister, she is going to do big things. haha. I said Hi to her and she just kinda looked at me funny. Course... I probably did that as well on my first day. Well... Actually I think I was falling asleep everywhere because of how tired I was. Anywho, Sister Richards and Sister Johnson are going to be bomb together. I still can't believe Sister Richards is Training right before she dies! It's so cool! It will probably definitely help her stay super focused for the rest of her mission.
Well, I guess I will tell you about My new area now. I am Now companions with Sister Curtis, she is pretty awesome, just sayin. She is from a family of 9... or 8... Anywho, She is taller than me! yay! haha. She has three nephews and three nieces. She is a super hard worker and it's awesome. She has only been here in Bridgeport for six weeks and she pretty much knows where everything is or she is really good at winging it. She has only 11 weeks left on her mission. So I might get the opportunity of killing her off on her mission if we stay companions for this transfer and the next. We will see. Then after she goes home I will be going home after the next 6 weeks. Holy COW! Where has all of the time gone! I only have 17 weeks left on my mission!?? 4 months... Moo.
Sister Whitaker and Shumway are our STL's. Our zone is pretty big again. Elder Hadfield and Ostler are the Zone Leaders. Elder Maufet (or Mafia) is our District Leader. and yeah. Sister Curtis and I share a ward with three other sets of Elders... how crazy is that! Two sets of missionaries to four sets.
A few hours after I arrived here in Bridgeport, Sister Curtis and I went and taught our first lesson together. I was tired out of my mind, but it was actually a really awesome lesson. Sister Curtis is awesome, she asks great questions, she states things simply and plainly. Ah I have so much to learn from her. We discovered that we teach pretty well together, so this transfer is going to be fun! we have lots of people to teach here in Bridgeport, which is nice. going from like 2 to 12 is a big jump. So far several of our investigators are pretty cool. We are waiting for a few of them to come home from vacation before I can meet them. But as soon as school starts everything will start to calm down and work out.
Fun thing of the week! I met my first Uber Drunk guy! He was soooo wasted. It was funny, Sister Curtis and I were going to go and try him because he was a Potential. Unfortunately, He and his fiance had a falling out the day before and she left. She just picked up and left him and his two kids. His kids are super cute too. It was really sad to see him in that state. It reminded me of the song Whiskey Lullaby, where he is trying to drink his pain away. It is hard to see people, where the only thing they have to turn to are drugs and alcohol or cigarettes. I have seen them ruin lives. I have seen them ruin families. As I have been out on my mission I have realized the blessings of living the Word of Wisdom. It isn't just something that the Prophet mentioned and said that it would be a good idea to follow. It's a commandment. It keeps not only our body in a healthy living condition, but it also keeps our families in a healthy relationship. The small and simple things do great things in our lives. The small things such as Prayer, and Scripture Study. Pondering about the things we learn. Repenting. Having a Change of Heart.
I was studying in Enos this morning. I was trying to get a better understanding of Prayer. I had just finished doing the evaluation in PMG about how my prayers are, and I have always been in a stupor of what the heck I am supposed to do to help my prayers become more effective. I still didn't get a firm answer, but I realized the pattern in Enos. It is a very powerful book. Definitely read it and apply it into your own life. for example:
vs 3. Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
example: Behold, I went to work in West Virginia; and the words which I had often heard the Missionaries speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
Pondering, Praying, Seeking, Believing, Improving not only our life but the lives of those around us.
We are all part of this great and marvelous work. We need to build a foundation in a sure place. On the Rock our Redeemer. Through Him all things are possible. We just need to have Faith and be Believing that all things are possible. We just need to take that first step of Faith. We have his words, we see the signs, we know the time is coming.
I hope you are all having a great week and that everyone is getting excited for school! YAY! haha Well I love you,
Sister Karen Call

Super Awesome Stairway
 Sister Nielsen loves her Disco Ball